Summer is starting to feel like a distant memory. You wake up shivering and you can see your breath on your way to work in the early morning hours. With the onset of winter comes higher heating costs and hours spent shoveling snow. Just those two factors are sobering enough without the prospect of encountering a major plumbing disaster. You need to know how to keep pipes from freezing and wreaking havoc in your home. While no method guarantees safety for your home’s pipes, take the following measures to help keep your pipes thawed during the cold months.
Prepare the Exterior of Your Home
Once the temperature starts to drop and yard work is over for the year, pack up your garden hoses. After you unscrew them, don’t close the water valves. By leaving the valves open, all the excess water can drain out. If any water remains behind and a deep freeze sets in, the water will have room to expand and won’t cause the pipe to rupture. Do you have an outdoor kitchen on your patio? Make sure that all water lines are disconnected and drained. Follow the same procedure for your sprinkler system and swimming pool.
Identify High-Risk Areas Inside Your Home
Plumbing lines located close to the exterior of your home or in uninsulated areas are at greater risk of freezing. For instance, pipes placed in garages, attics and crawl spaces are exposed to low temperatures and are untouched by your home’s heat. Purchase pipe insulation at your local hardware store and wrap these pipes to protect them against freezing temperatures. For especially cold spaces in your home, consider opening up the walls and adding insulation. It might seem like a lot of trouble, but if a pipe bursts in the wall, you will have to do it anyway, along with cleaning up the water damage.
Keep Your House Safe in Your Absence
Going on vacation? You might want to save money on heat, but don’t turn it off entirely. Sources vary on what you should set your temperature to so that you don’t come home to a flooded residence but 55 degrees is probably good for a long absence. If you will be gone overnight or for a weekend, turn down the temperature about 5 degrees so your furnace doesn’t have to overwork to bring the house back up to your comfort level. Leaving your sink cabinets open can also facilitate warm air circulation near your indoor plumbing. Open each faucet enough so that they can slowly drip. Keeping the water moving in the pipes will help guard against freezing.
Service Your Heating System
When was the last time your heating system was serviced? If you can’t remember, it’s time for a tune-up. Every year, your home’s heating system should be looked at by a professional. You can prevent unexpected breakdowns by scheduling regular inspections. If your heating system fails on the coldest day of the year, broken pipes and major water damage become a possibility.
Follow this guide on how to keep pipes from freezing. You can also call Captain Plumbing for assistance with a frozen or burst pipe any time of the day or night.